Doing things out of order.
The proper order is to first figure out how you’re going to pay for your home (generally getting qualified for a mortgage) and then start searching for homes.
First time homebuyers frequently do this in reverse order and it leads to a lot of unnecessary heartache. In a hot market, a buyer finds a home that they *love* – no other home will do. They meet with an agent and decide to write an offer to purchase the home. The agent recommends a mortgage broker, who needs some income documentation (W-2, pay stub, tax return). While the buyer is getting this documentation together, another buyer (who is already pre-approved by a mortgage lender) swoops in and makes an offer on the property and it’s accepted.
Another common scenario is that a first time homebuyer finds a home and falls in love with it. Then they find out that they can’t afford the home they love. That’s a pretty terrible position to be in – other homes in the price range the buyer can afford pale in comparison. If the buyer had know how much home they can afford and started out looking in that price range they will be much happier with the home they ultimately buy.
Also, just don’t fall in *love* with a home – it’s an important financial decision and you want to be driven by practicality and pragmatism rather than emotion.